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Pa. Film Tax Credit To Thank For Pittsburgh Movie Boom

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There was almost as much excitement in Pittsburgh as there was in Los Angeles on Oscar night and for good reason: Pittsburgh was a player in this year's awards.

"For the first time since 1991, we have a best picture nominee in 'Fences,'" Pittsburgh Film Office representative Dawn Keezer said.

In Southwestern Pennsylvania alone last year, there were two major motion pictures shot and four television series. That translates into big money for the region.

"We had a record-breaking year with $115 million being spent in Southwestern Pennsylvania alone," Keezer said.

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What brings Hollywood to Pennsylvania is the state's $60 million a year film tax credit, but shortfalls in the state's budget could eliminate the credit all together.

"I would like to have it as a dedicated tax credit. One you don't have to vote on every five years," said Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.

The debate over the tax credit will heat up between now and June when the state's new budget up is approved or rejected.

Until then those in favor of bringing movies like "Fences" to our region plan to make a case for continuing the credit.

"We start turning away business, we're the only state in the country to put out a 'do not open' sign for the film industry, we lost projects last week, I turned down three television series last week alone," Keezer said.

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